Raaga is an lifetime experience

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After years in theatre and dabbling with stage shows as a stand-up comedy artiste, and then progressing to TV serials and films, popular comedian Mithra turns leading man in his own production, the Kannada film Raaga. Despite not having elements of a stereotypical commercial potboiler and him not playing a larger-than-life hero, the film, says Mithra, is very commercial at heart. Getting into the skin of the character required the funnyman to do a lot of unlearning, and today, he calls it god’s gift.
In a quick chat with us, he talks about what pushed him to turn to production, why the role in Raaga is special to him and lots more. Excerpts…
From monotony to a passion-driven Raaga
I am a theatre artiste and have done no less than 600 stage shows, including stand-up comedy. I have also worked on umpteen television serials and about 105 movies. My work in films has predominantly been for humour relief and, usually, the comedy characters I got were meant to mouth double entendre lines to give audiences a quick laugh. Initially, I found the work interesting, but over years of doing the same thing over and over again, I began to find it monotonous and wanted a break from it. Also, with my kids growing up, I began wondering what kind of work legacy I was leaving behind. I was toying with the idea of venturing into film production and had once told director (PC) Shekar, with whom I had worked on Romeo, Chaddi Dosth and Style King , that I want him to make a film for me. I love his passion towards movies. He is very dedicated, he is not like regular filmmaker and has a certain lateral thinking that I like.
Then, one day, Shekar came to my house and narrated the story of Raaga , as a film that he intended to make under his own banner. I loved the story, but was not sure what role he meant for me. That’s when he said that he wants a hero who is not hero material. He was looking for a short, dark man and said that I was among the most bad-looking people he knew in the industry, and, hence, that I would be perfect for the role.
I was so touched by the story that I wanted to make it myself and got Shekar to agree to be only director on the project

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